Guayana, meet the Hegemony

Ferromineros en el porton

All kinds of very strange stories have been circulating about the situation in the SOE-Hearland of Ciudad Guayana, where a SIDOR strike that’s about to enter its third week is being joined by restive Ferrominera workers, amid an industrial relations climate that seems to be hitting an all-time low.

Andres Velásquez’s twitter TL suggests the National Guard tried to take over Ferrominera’s headquarters with Armored Personnel Vehicles (tanquetas) last night but were driven back by the workers.

Too bad they didn’t send in the tanquetas when Ferrominera’s red managers were busy pilfering $1.2 billion (con ‘b’ de ¡qué bolas!) from the firm…an episode might help explain why it’s now five years behind on its Prestaciones trust fund deposits. 

Local paper Correo del Caroni is doing what it can to cover the crisis, but they’re under tough pressure too, specifically over the Ferrominera scandal (which, in a bizarre twist, is simultaneously openly acknowledged by Ricardo Menéndez and verboten to journalists.)

As best as I can make out, the Sidoristas aren’t even asking for a new Collective Bargaining agreement, they’re protesting because the old agreement, which technically lapsed three years ago, isn’t being followed!

It’s hard to know the scale of this week’s conflict, because the government’s media stranglehold means it’s essentially being blacked out of national media. SIBCI is deep in head-in-the-sand mode on this one. VTV only covers Ferrominera strikes when they end, and then only to suck up to Maduro.

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